By @SimonCocking, interview with Chirag Golwala, Founder of TripCenter.net:
Describe the company – the elevator pitch…
TripCenter.NET is a new, ground-breaking service set to completely transform the way GTOs (Group Travel Organisations) book group travel tours. The revolutionary portal condenses a complicated booking process into a straight-forward, time efficient system that will save time and money throughout the group travel sector in a way that has never been seen before.
Whatever the requirement, whether a coach trip around the UK or another continent, TripCenter.NET will offer a live, real-time solution for group tours. TripCenter will change the way coaches are booked across the globe and access to the platform is completely FREE to tour operators around the world.
— TripCenter (@TripCenter_net) February 14, 2017
How are you different?
Our service is transforming a process that is traditionally multi-layered, time consuming and conducted offline and streamlines it in a centralised emarketplace, creating a direct process that will save the industry time and money in abundance. There is no other service like this on the market. We are the first to offer instantaneous, live online booking of coach itineraries, tour guides and attractions across the globe.
Why will the company / product do well?
TripCenter connects local supply with global demand. Traditionally, Group Travel Organisations (GTOs) are forced to spend precious time and resources manually searching for local coach operators and tour guides across the globe. TripCenter collates a complete selection of verified and approved coach and tour operators, eliminating the need for pain-staking research and completely re-inventing the way GTOs book their itineraries, saving them time and money. It also benefits the coach operators as they can connect with businesses who require their services for free.
Where are you based?
We are based in Harrow, London, but TripCenter is an online, global emarketplace and the service can be used to book itineraries across the world. Our sister company Let’s Travel Services also has a head office on London’s Regent Street and offices in Shanghai, Beijing and Ahmedabad in India.
When was the company launched?
We have been developing the platform for over two years and have just launched the marketplace in January 2017
What have been your biggest wins to date?
Our growth in a short space of time has been exceptional. Already we have over 1,000 touring coaches live and online across Europe whilst a further 500 coach operators are undergoing our quality control process. They will add up to 8,000 more touring coaches to the service.
Amongst those already signed up to the system are Euroguide, Elite Touring, Amigo Tours and Richmond Coaches here in the UK. All of which and more we are proud to say have joined us and we consider to be some of our biggest wins to date!
To see an idea come to life after 2.5 years of constant setbacks and developments is quite satisfying. However, at TripCenter our work is just starting as we want to make sure we continue to innovate and remain at the forefront of technology in group travel and continue to make it accessible worldwide.
What type of people (market segment) are you trying to attract to your product?
Firstly, Group Travel Organisations will be using the site to book coach tours around the world. Secondly, coach tour operators can register and use this as an outlet to increase their visibility to GTOs. We know that coach operators currently function at around a 62% utilisation rate throughout the year TripCenter will help them optimise. Lastly, tour guides will be able to register on the site, free of charge to help increase their visibility worldwide and meet demand for GTOs who often require a tour guide alongside a coach for group trips.
— TripCenter (@TripCenter_net) February 15, 2017
Tell us about your team?
Myself and COO Rui Men, have been in the industry for 16 years and run both TripCenter.NET and Let’s Travel Services together. With a fantastic and enthusiastic team of colleagues, we have spent over two and a half years in developing this unique booking platform.
What are you long term plans for your product / company?
Whilst it is early days for the service, we are off to a great start. The future is bright, we intend to be the go-to platform for Group Travel Organisers to easily and efficiently book tours throughout the world. In doing so we will increase business and visibility of coach operators and tour guides thus helping to expand the market for coach tourism globally.
What are your favourite tech gadgets?
A smartphone with really cool and clever apps, virtual reality, artificial intelligence & drones (although I am yet to see a Pizza or a package delivered to me by a drone).
In fact, any gadget that makes life easy NOT lazy and saves you money.
What tech gadgets do you wish you could use to help you?
If it exists, a gadget or a service that can execute my ideas and shows me a prototype or wireframes immediately.
Anything else you’d like to add / we should have asked?
Within the EU there are over 50,000 coach companies and an estimated 50 million coach journey days booked annually. Some estimates put the overall European coach tourism market at well over £35 billion when you include coaches, guides and attractions. Group travel by coach is the most cost effective, environmentally friendly and efficient way to see the world especially if it is your own group. By launching TripCenter, we are creating much greater efficiencies and opportunities for tour operators and suppliers and confirming and demonstrating that there is growth yet to be seen!
How do people get in touch with you?